3 Book Recommendations To Help Kick Off The New Year

John Norlin · January 2, 2017

As school professionals it can be easy to fill every spare minute with grading, lesson planning, and answering emails. Rather than throwing all of your extra time into those items, I wanted to share with you a few recommended readings you might try to fill that time with to kick off this year. 

Here are three books I recommend that are engaging and also remind us the value of teaching our students the importance of character.

The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle, by James C. Hunter. This is my number one go to book for teaching servant-leadership. It is a pretty quick read that truly shaped the CharacterStrong curriculum. The book focuses on how agape love can transform relationships with all people you come in contact with. It is comprised of shorter sub-chapters that goes through the main components of servant-leadership.

James Hunter will be the keynote speaker at the upcoming Middle School and High School Servus Conference hosted by the Sumner School District on March 8th at the Showare Center in Kent, WA. If you'd like more information on how to attend the conference please e-mail [email protected]

The Road to Character, by David Brooks. The author takes a look at what society and our culture tells us is success i.e. fame, money, title and challenges us, to think more about our “eulogy virtues,” the core of who we are: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, and instead of looking at success as the examples listed above but instead grounded in the quality of our relationships with others. Extra bonus - The Humility Code in the back of the book is an awesome resource for any student of leadership and character. Also, I was recently told by a colleague that her daughter, who is a student at Boise State University, was required to read this book before the school year started along with every other freshman on campus. Pretty cool!

The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg. This book was personally recommended to me by author James C. Hunter. This book digs deep into habit development looking at how they are formed while giving real-life examples of how it has played out from the executive board rooms to the sidelines of the NFL. The author argues that one of the primary keys to success is understanding how habits work. A crucial piece of the CharacterStrong curriculum is strengthening your character muscle by intentionally building habits. This dives into what is going on behind the scenes connected to that work.

I hope that you have an excellent start to your year and we at CharacterStrong are wishing you a happy and healthy year!


John Norlin

John Norlin is a Co-Founder of CharacterStrong, a Servant Leadership trainer, and motivational speaker. He was Washington Advisor of the Year, taught 5 leadership classes per semester for 10 years at Sumner High School, and was a Program Administrator for the Whole Child for five years.